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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Practice Notes (8/14) - Knowshon on Special Teams?

Knowshon Moreno may have a chance to impress Heisman voters even when he's not busting through the line of scrimmage on offense this season.

Georgia held a special teams scrimmage Thursday, and head coach Mark Richt said Moreno, the team's leading rusher a year ago, is one of the top contenders for the role of punt returner this season.

"I'm not sure whether we'll pull the trigger there or not, but he's working there," Richt said. "Knowshon will do anything you ask him to do. We're trying to get our best players across the board at any position, including special teams, and he has an aptitude for it."

The other top contenders for the punt-return job, according to Richt, are freshman running back Carlton Thomas, safety Asher Allen and third-string quarterback Logan Gray.

Allen returned kicks for the Bulldogs last season, and is unlikely to fill both rolls this year, Richt said.

*** Like Moreno, Gray may play a key role on offense this season, too. Former Bulldogs quarterback Joe Tereshinski played on special teams as a personal protector for the punter early in his career, but Georgia carried four quarterbacks at the time. Gray's elevated spot on the depth chart makes his use on special teams a bit more risky.

"A guy in those positions could get banged up to where he can't play QB, and that would be scary, but I think we've just got to let him play right now," Richt said.

In addition to punt return duties, Richt said Gray is also working out as the gunner on punt coverage and safety on kickoffs.

"Logan wants to help us win," Richt said. "He just wants to play."

*** Monday morning, he was one of the least talked-about players in camp, but by Monday night, Josh Davis was front and center or more appropriately, left of the center in the minds of Georgia's fans and coaches.

Following a season-ending injury to starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, Davis was elevated up the depth chart and has been getting a majority of the reps with the first-team offensive line.

"I was really focused on Trinton was the starting left tackle, so I kind of knew I was going to have to work hard to get playing time behind him," Davis said. "Now that he's out, I feel a lot of weight on my shoulders."

The job isn't going to be handed to Davis, but Richt has been upbeat about the job Davis has done on short notice, noting a significant upturn in the sophomore's on-field tempo during practice.

Davis said he's thrilled with the chance at the starting job, but as one of Sturdivant's closest friends on the team, he wishes it were under different circumstances.

"It hurt," Davis said. "Me and him, we have similar personalities, so we're always around each other, laughing, telling jokes. When he got hurt, it hurt me. I saw him in the training room, I had to fight back tears."

*** Brannan Southerland has spent the first two weeks of practice with a gaudy protective boot on his foot, but the bruising fullback may be close to returning to work.

Southerland, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot in June, said he will have a CT scan completed Monday and would meet with his doctor on Wednesday for further evaluation.

"Hopefully we'll start working out of this boot next week, that's what we're hoping to hear from the doctor," Southerland said. "I have to get into a tennis shoe to further the rehab process at this point."

*** Richt said kicker Blair Walsh was the clear leader to handle extra-point and field-goal duties this season defensive ends Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) and Jeremy Lomax (turf toe) could both be back at practice Monday, Richt said fellow defensive end Justin Houston sat out of practice Thursday with tightness in his hamstring.

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UGA83 said...
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